The (un)appealing role of the private investigator…


AsĀ private investigators, we are used to being viewed in a sometimes less than complimentary way. The stereotype of the PI in hat and raincoat, frequenting seedy bars and acting unscrupulously is still a very commonly held view. Sadly, in a largely unregulated industry, this perception can at times, be not too far from the truth. It’s a constant battle for the professional, experienced investigators among us, to defend our industry and prove that we are not all bumbling, inefficient sharks.

So it came as a pleasant surprise this week to read the story about the role private investigators played in securing the quashing of a conviction for a man falsely accused of rape. David Bryant, a Fire Chief from Dorset, was charged with raping a 14 year old boy some 35 years earlier, despite his accuser having no corroborating evidence to support his accusation. A jury found Mr Bryant guilty, and he was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment in January 2014.

Fortunately, his wife Lynn decided to take matters into her own hands and fight to overturn her husband’s erroneous conviction. She assembled a team of private investigators who managed to gather the evidence needed to prove that Mr Bryant was innocent, and his accuser a chronic and serial liar.

Following the new evidence, and further investigations by the investigators and Mr Bryant’s lawyers, his conviction was overturned at the Court of Appeal last week.

It is not the first time private investigators have played such a major role in addressing the wrongs that are sometimes meted out by the justice system. Indeed, there are many people who would still be behind bars today, wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit, were it not for the unstinting efforts of private detectives.

Yet this valuable work we do usually goes unreported and unacknowledged. We ourselves have been involved in several high profile cases where the evidence we obtained proved crucial in securing a case for wrongful conviction. But read the news reports, and you will see nothing about this.

We don’t do this work for the glory. We do it because we care about the truth, we care about justice and fairness and transparency.

Once in a while though, it’s nice to see our profession recognised in a more positive light. So to those investigators involved in David Bryant’s case, we applaud you.

You can read more about this case here: